Saturday, May 29, 2010


Posts will be short and sweet. And probably unrelated to writing. I'm moving in a month, and trying to get my life in order (ie, see as many doctors as possible before my insurance slips away) is all consuming. Or completely exhausting, in which case I do what I did yesterday, which was watch movies all day long. "Research," DR. It's all research.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh no

I'm flying during the LOST finale. Which means that my plane will probably crash on a remote time traveling electromagnetic island in the middle of Lake Eerie and I'll be caught in an epic supernatural battle between good and evil.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Take that

My sister gave me my birthday presents this weekend. My birthday was in January. That's all cool, though, because I'm probably the worst gift giver ever, so I expect a little karma here.

One of the books she got me is awesome. It's by Kevin DeYoung, and it's called "Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will OR How to Make a Decision without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc."

I'm only halfway through, and I'm loving it. For anyone who's ever struggled with "finding God's will," I super recommend this book. I know it's put some sizable dents in lies I believe about God and His will. And for anyone who's ever felt stressed about finding God's will, who's felt a burden of discovery on them, DeYoung's points are liberating.

One of my fav passages so far (and there are a few of them) -- "Just to be clear, God does not hide things from His people. There are lots of scenarios we don't know, lots of mysteries we can't figure out. There is a will of decree that is not usually known to the people of God (Deuteronomy 29:29). But He is not trying to confuse us or hide truth. In the conventional view of God's will, however, we get the impression that He not only hides His will from us, but He then expects us to find it. So we obsess over God's will of direction, eventually getting frustrated with God for not showing us what He wants. We end up disappointed with ourselves or angry with God because we can't seem to figure out how to find God's will for our lives (46)... We walk by faith, not by sight. We risk because God does not risk. We walk into the future in God-glorifying confidence not because the future is known to us but because it is known to God (48)."

So if you're interested in God, His will, or theology in general, pick up this book. If only because he has some hilarious things to say about relationships too. Or feel free to disagree with me.

And yes, I did decide what I'm doing next year. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

At the Theatre

About a month ago I saw a couple of movies that I was pretty excited about, Date Night and the Joneses. Mostly because they were not 1. remakes, 2. sequels, or 3. franchise spinoffs. I meant to blog about them weeks ago, but - obviously - I did not. However, if they're playing near a theatre near you still, I'd recommend going to see them. The Joneses especially. I hadn't heard about it before we went to see it, but it's an interesting dramedy about consumer culture. And David Duchovny's in it.

On the other hand, over the past two weeks, I've seen two major summer tentpoles. I went to see Iron Man 2 last week with my brothers, and Firefighter Friend and I went to see Robin Hood this past Friday. So, 1. a sequel and 2. a franchise.

Iron Man 2 was awesome. I haven't heard a negative thing about it from anyone else either. I love the characters. And Scott Myers has linked to an interview with screenwriter Justin Theroux here.

I was probably more excited about seeing Robin Hood than I was about Iron Man 2. But you guys didn't see that coming, right?

Any reason...

And it was good, but it was way different than I thought it was going to be. I didn't realize how much of the story they were rewriting or that they were starting their story before Robin became an outlaw. I don't want to say I was disappointed, because it was a great movie and I would recommend it and will definitely see it again myself at some point, but it didn't really match my expectations. I don't want to say more because I don't want to spoil anyone else's expectations. Loved Crowe and Blanchett though, more than I expected I would. Ok, I'll stop.

However, it's nice to be able to recommend the last four movies I've seen in theatre. That could be because I've stopped letting people drag me to movies like Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another kind of deadline

Last week we got our contracts for next year. We're supposed to have them returned by Friday.

So now a decision I've been pondering and rationalizing and hypothesizing about for the past three months has to be made in three days. I like to think I'm closer to figuring out what happens next.

I used to think that, for a change, I'd like to take the easy way out for a while. But every single one of my options is a mixture of pros and cons. There is no right answer, which is both liberating and terrifying. The most difficult part is making the choice. Once a course of action has been plotted, it's just a matter of how you make it work, not whether you will make it work. So whatever amount of gumption I have, I have to get it together by the end of this week.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My (Not so Subtle) Grand Plan

First of all, my grand plan will exclude buses as a form of public transportation. Buses will be outlawed to be replaced by transporters.

Second of all, you have to have a sense of humor to read this. Otherwise, we can't be friends.

Just kidding! That was my first joke. Why am I *not* a comedy TV writer?

Last night I went into the City for a University of Michigan Entertainment Coalition (UMEC, thank goodness) writers' group. It was very nice, and I look forward to getting more involved. There were five of us there, two actors, an editor, and a freelance writer. And the elementary aide. None of us brought work to read and discuss, so we talked a lot about our ideas. We talked a lot about mine first.

Let me just say something. I love Keys, but it is probably the most blatantly Christian thing I will ever right.

Until I get the rights to remake The Robe.

Everyone has an agenda when they write. Everyone has an agenda when they do... anything, really. I was going to slip the Gospel into movies while passing out free Koolaid with the popcorn. And Keys... well, Keys really lays it out there. No sort of ambiguous talk about forgiveness or redemption or unconditional love. I mean, it's about the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life. And how we're all sinners. You know, grade school theology.

And for some reason, some how, maybe they were just all very polite, or maybe they never read the pages (which I understand and did reciprocate. It was senior year, guys.), no one really called me on it during the master class I wrote it in. Prof J would enter his two cents, and sometimes there would be light hearted jokes about it (light hearted jokes about religion, any religion, are the BEST. They just make me feel like everyone's more comfortable and cool with people and their faiths. That could just be part of my neurosis.), but I never felt so acutely aware of the analogy that is Keys.

The UMEC group was though. As I described my story more and more (btw, have I ever mentioned how much I HATE summarizing? And how I really need to work on my pitch skills?), it got trickier and trickier to explain the plot without sounding like the next Left Behind novelist. I mean, I could have just said, "Aw, listen, why are we bothering with all this middle-man movie making business anyway? Let's just cut to the chase --"

Being an already awkward person, I was getting more and more uncomfortable as I tried to straddle this line of being honest and not sounding like a crazy person (that has a whole 'nother spiritual dilemma that I will spare you). I felt very clumsy. I didn't want anyone to dismiss me out of hand for anything I said. That's why I was so appreciative when Cool Freelance Writer Girl helped me out.

Cool Freeland Writer Girl: So wait a minute. Are you trying to do what Gospel music did, when they went from singing all hymns and stuff to the cool music Kirk Franklin and other singers did?

Me (dancing on the table): Yes! COOL!

Ok, I didn't really shout like that, but I definitely felt a lot better. It was a weird interaction because I don't know anything about her, about what she believes or anything. She might hate Gospel music and Kirk Franklin. She might think I'm completely crazy. But I do think she knows that I'm not going to attack her with a pamphlet and a WWJD bracelet.

I haven't really thought a lot about what it's going to mean to be a Christian in this industry. I think I'll be in the minority. I think I sorta had a laissez faire attitude about it before and that it might be more difficult than I originally counted on. But the Gospel is about unconditional love and forgiveness and reconciliation with God. And stories that are filled with love and forgiveness and peace -- well, you can say what you want, but I think I'm going to keep writing them anyway.

Patrick Dempsey cast in Transformers III

'Dempsey told reporters in Brazil this week that it's a 'dark character.'"

Seriously? Now they're just making a farce.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Flaming Lawnmowers and Hippies

This past weekend I went to Burlington, Vermont, with some friends. It was a blast. Weekend road trips are going to make a come back, I'm telling you.

Downtown Burlington. NOT "Birmingham," like I had been telling people.

The friends I went with asked me a fair amount of questions about screenwriting, which I really appreciated. I kinda happen to think that I do something interesting, but conversations usually go like this --

Rando: So you're an aide. Do you want to be a teacher?

Me: No, actually, I want to be a screenwriter.

Rando: Oh. (pause) So do you like working where you are?

I mean, how often do you meet educators? (Let me tell you, surprisingly often. My Bible study is mostly made up of educators or prospective educators. It was not planned.) How often do you meet someone who's trying to break into the movie business? I'm just saying, if I had just met me and was making small talk with myself, I'd ask myself about the writing business not the education business.

Ben & Jerry's factory. AKA the most delightful place on earth, right before Hershey, PA.

Anyway, the friends I went with were awesome sports because I kept taking out a notepad and taking notes. It's something new I'm trying to 1. help me get ideas and 2. improve my comedic writing. Of course, I decided to start this experiment the weekend I go away with friends. Some might find it creepy that I giggle to myself as I scribble furiously in illegible cursive on the hotel notepad, but my friends were awesome. They'd ask about what I was writing down and even suggest things they thought were funny.

Talking about writing with friends always makes me feel awkward. I feel simultaneously arrogant and embarrassed. I mean, it's pretty bold to go around talking about how you're going to write movies one day. And I think the chagrin comes from the underlying acknowledgment we all must (or should) have that this is a complete long shot. On the other hand, it's so important to me to have people I can talk to about what I love to do. And the ideal is that not only will I be able to have friends that I can talk to about writing but ones that will support me and take it seriously. So important that it's on the short list of qualities I want in a guy (right after "must look good in uniform" and before "preferably from Ireland or Britain").

The Flavor Graveyard at Ben and Jerry's, showing love to my British side.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out a story that harmonizes the Jersey Mafia and a trendy Montclair cupcake cafe.

Goodbye, East Coast mountains...